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KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport' - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

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SHREVEPORT, La - National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. 

Pretty gross, right? 

“We don't usually go to the public pools for that reason,” says Priscilla Lyons, of Benton. 

Chemicals, like chlorine, are added to pool water to kill disease-causing germs. The CDC recommends that free chlorine levels stay between 1-3 parts per million (ppm). Chlorine kills most bacteria, and helps sanitize the water from all the dirt, sweat, and fecal matter swimmers bring into the pool. And because of all of that dirt can reduce chlorine levels, levels must be monitored regularly. 

 So how sanitary are our public pools? 

KTBS hit the pool to find out. Using basic chlorine test strips from a pool supply store – we were able to measure chlorine levels.  Out of all the pools we tested, not one fell within chlorine levels recommended by the CDC. We found that Shreveport’s' Airport Park, Bill Cockrell, Querbes, and Southern Hills all had low chlorine levels. David Raines’ pool was low to normal. The splash pad at Riverview Park showed higher levels of chlorine than the CDC recommends. 

 “I have kids, I wouldn't let my kids play in these pools because I'm not sure of the safety myself,” says David McCormick. 

“They drink the water, they're still little, so they always get it in their mouths and up their noses so it would be good if it was in safety regulation," says Lyons.

 So what happens if you swim in a pool with chlorine levels lower than recommended? Simply put, low levels don't kill germs effectively. According to the CDC, E. coli, Hepatitis A, and certain parasites can survive in water that hasn't been properly sanitized. And those germs can make you quite sick. On the flip side, high chlorine levels can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation. Finding the right chlorine balance - is necessary to keep swimmers safe. 

The city of Shreveport contracts with rock solid to oversee spar pools. According to Rock Solid, all the pools have automated systems that monitor chemical levels. On top of that, we're told managers manually check those levels every day to ensure swimmer safety- and turn in logs with those numbers. We asked Rock Solid for those logs, and as of news time, they have not been able to provide us with those chlorine measurements to compare to what we found. 

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals only inspects public pools if there's been a complaint, or if it’s opening for the first time. The DHH says it would only close a pool if they investigate that complaint and find eminent danger. Otherwise, pool managers and owners are responsible for monitoring their pools themselves. The DHH is responsible, however, for regularly inspecting water parks, like Splash Kingdom, because of the size of the park. They do that once a year, prior to its opening for the season. 

We did visit mike wood pool in bossier, and the results were inconclusive. It seemed, from the test strips, the chlorine level was slightly higher than recommended by the CDC, reading about 5 ppm. However, Bossier City Spokesperson Mark Natale says the city aims for a chlorine level of 2-4 ppm. Rock solid officials never got back to us about what chlorine level they aim for in the city of Shreveport. 

If you or your family have concerns about a pool you go to, for a few dollars you can get strips like these at any pool supply store - and test the waters yourself. Also, remember it's best to rinse off before and after swimming in a pool, and never swim if you're sick or have diarrhea.

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